Howdy from Texas and the JASNA AGM

October 15, 2011 at 11:33 pm (jane austen, jasna) (, , , , , , , )

How-dee!

Been some wonderful weather down here in Fort Worth, Texas — cloudless blue skies; warm days but some breeze. Can’t say I’ve seen much of the city, however what I’ve seen is quite lovely. This evening, for instance, on the Promenade (yes, those dressed in costumes walked the square; I don’t dress but I did walk!), a gorgeous building near Sundance Square was illuminated and the trumpeting figures on the sides of the facade stood out in full relief. A-ma-zing.

Some highlights:

  • Tried taking the public transportation (bus –> train to Fort Worth and the hotel); all worked well, but it took me nearly as long to get luggage, get bus, await train, and walk to hotel as it did to FLY from Manchester (NH) to Atlanta (GA)! 3 hours….
  • My Friday talk — “A House Divided? How the ‘Sister Arts’ Define the Dashwood Sisters” — went well. People seemed interested in hearing about music and opera, art and drawing and how the two elder Dashwoods somewhat personified the art they each practiced.
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner was on our own Friday; I had a cup of tea English Breakfast tea made with water in the coffee maker, and with half-and-half (no milk!). Lunch was a sandwich; I think it was turkey & cheese on a croissant. Not bad – but purchased in the hotel so a bit pri$ey. Thanks to the PRESS for TIME (am: last read-through of paper; lunch: really the last read-through and a little preparation — while the room was being cleaned…) dinner was going to be the bag of popcorn on offer for the evening’s movie marathon. Instead: it was pizza shared with screenwriter Andrew Davies, who sat down beside me. How kind. Can say that I ‘rubbed elbows and shoulders’ with him. If only some of his Austen “luck” would rub off on me.
  • an interesting talk on miniatures and hair tokens, with perhaps a source for helping to track down some of those “missing” portraits I know about.
  • a nice breakfast on Saturday with three British ladies (and much better tea than the day before!).
  • a lovely dinner Saturday night, followed by the promenade.
  • a fun talk (though it lacked any true “ending”) by Andrew Davies, with clips from Pride & Prejudice (of course), Northanger Abbey, Emma (EXCEPTIONALLY hysterical story behind that one!), and Sense & Sensibility.
  • the singing Cowboys, “(clap-clap-clap-clap), deep in the heart of Texas”.
  • a five-second face-to-face with Freydis Welland and her sister about their relatives: the Austen Leighs, Smiths of Suttons &c.
  • a wonderful roommate in JASNA board member Sally Palmer.

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Texas Beckons – Long and Winding Road nears its end

October 12, 2011 at 8:03 am (jane austen, jasna, news, travel) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Today marks the beginning of the JASNA AGM long and winding road: I leave for Manchester, NH and a Thursday flight for Dallas-Fort Worth.

It has, indeed, been long and winding…

Was last year about this time that I proposed a paper to the Annual General Meeting 2011 of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Then came the acceptance! Hurrah, was my first thought; but it’s been much work — and time away from my beloved Smiths & Goslings. In the last month, when I might have been living life in 1830s England, transcribing Richard Seymour’s diaries, I’ve been looking to fine tune some Jane Austen writings. I’ve read Austen because she would have been Emma’s “Aunt”; Emma, on visits to Chawton, when she describes Cassandra Austen or Edward Knight, might have been rubbing elbows with a woman whose books she read (there is a diary notation of Mansfield Park in 1818). I’ve certainly learned a lot about life, reading Austen’s novels; and also learned about obscure aspects of her novelistic world by studying the Smiths & Goslings. Yet, I’ll be glad to get back to “work” come November. I’m missing “my people”!

I’ve never been West – so this will be a bit of a treat. Going book-looking in New Hampshire (if all goes well) at my favorite used bookstore: Old Depot No. 6, in Henniker.

Not a lot of book room in the suitcase, should the JASNA Emporium beckon…

Hope to keep you up-to-date while I’m at the AGM!

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La belle assemblee, or Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine

May 1, 2011 at 11:22 am (books, fashion, news, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

La Belle Assemblée (1806-1868) (also called Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine)

This magazine is exceptionally difficult to find within books.google: it may be the accent in Assemblée; there are issues out there, but not easily found with its title! I’m doing my best to flesh out the copies, and actually just found a few *new* ones yesterday!!

Charlotte Frost, whose interview about her biography on Sir William Knighton can be read on this blog (part 1, part 2), actually gifted me with a bound copy of volume July thru Supplement for 1818. Wasn’t that kind of her. That volume is  found online (see below).

So what has interested me, seemingly all of a sudden, in this periodical. I found a “relation” to members of family. Oh, the story is long (have a seat, grab a cup of tea):

The portrait seen here, of Lady Langham, wife of Sir William, appears in the January 1809 issue of La belle assemblée. The brief bio that appears quite clearly speaks of her in the present-tense:

“LADY LANGHAM, whose portrait, from the celebrated pencil of Hopner,…is the only daughter of the Hon. Charles Vane, by Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Wood, Esq. of Hollin, in the County of York. Her Ladyship is married to Sir William Langham Bart. of Cotesbroke [sic: Cottesbrooke], Northamptonshire.”

Some Baronetages list Lady Langham as having died in 1807! Even a private family publication, The Christies of Glyndbourne (where she is ID as Elizabeth FANE), gives her death as 1807. An old copy of Debrett’s is surely more correct, given the above January 1809 bio, in saying that she died in November 1809. Yes, this vibrant young woman was soon taken from her family, aged only 29.

The rather curious-infuriating part: her widower seems to have REmarried in May 1810! Where are the stout-hearted fathers and widowers like William Gosling, who wait YEARS before remarrying???

Sir William’s second wife is quite probably the LADY LANGHAM Mary Gosling/Lady Smith refers to: she was the former Augusta Priscilla IRBY, only daughter of William Henry Irby and therefore the niece of Frederick Lord Boston. Mary’s stepmother Charlotte de Gray (Charlotte Gosling)’s maternal grandfather was the first Lord Boston; Mary’s diaries are sprinkled with Irbys.

But “Langham” should also be a name familiar to readers of TWO TEENS: Langham Christie, the husband of eldest Gosling sister, Elizabeth. Indeed, that same older Debrett’s lays out the intersecting Langham of Cottesbrooke Baronets (no sons often meant the title went — time and again — to a nephew or uncle or sibling, so it jumps around a LOT). Langham Christie’s grandfather, Purbeck Langham — who married Elizabeth Lawton and had among his children Langham’s eventual mother, also named Elizabeth — was the brother of the 2nd and 3rd Baronets. The 4th Baronet’s grandson became the 8th Baronet and was the Sir William who married our lovely lady shown here. (SEE! we did return to her, in the end…).

Ah! I forgot to mention: Elizabeth Lawton’s sister JANE LAWTON married the 8th Earl of Northampton — and this, (of course), is the family from whom Emma’s cousin Spencer, the 2nd Marquess Northampton, descends. Oh, such interweaving of little family histories. No wonder Langham and Charles Christie were so around the Smiths: they were in turn related to Smith relatives (the Comptons of Castle Ashby). The Christies of Glyndebourne was the first to drop that little piece of info into my lap.

Very interesting to see this engraving of the Hopner portrait, for it SO reminds me of portraits by Vigée Le Brun (see, for instance the 1791 portrait of Hyacinth Gabrielle Roland, at Bat Guano – the wonderful site dedicated to this artist). You can see her self-portrait at the Kimball Museum, in Fort Worth, Texas! (Fort Worth is the site of this autumn’s Annual General Meeting, or AGM, for the Jane Austen Society of North America.)

* * *

This page is NOT being updated; see link for La Belle Assemblée’s page

So, in a VERY long-winded way, this post introduces the numbers of this journal that I HAVE found online. Enjoy!

February-July 1806; August-December 1806
*new find!*
January-June 1807; July-December 1807 (same issue at Internet Archive)

January-June 1809; July-December 1809
January-June 1810 (alternative link to issue ); July-December 1810
January 1811 (supplemental); January-June 1811; July-December 1811
January-June 1812; July-December 1812

July-December 1814 *new find!*

January-June; July-December 1818; January-December 1818 (Internet Archive) *new find!*

New Series:

January-June 1820

January-June 1823 *new find!*

July-December 1830

January-June 1832
January-June 1833; July-December 1833
January-June 1834; July-December 1834
July-December 1835
July-December 1836 *new find!*

January-June 1837

January-June 1850

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Long & Winding Road to Fort Worth – Part 2

February 4, 2011 at 8:09 pm (jasna) (, , , )

JASNA has posted the “breakout speaker” sessions!

My own talk, “A House Divided? How the ‘Sister Arts’ Define the Dashwood Sisters,” is among those up first: Friday, 14 October 2011 at 3:00 p.m.

I have to miss a couple papers I’d love to hear, but what others to choose?? One I simply MUST attend: Kristen Miller Zohn, “Tokens of Imperfect Affection: Portrait Miniatures and Hairwork in Sense and Sensibility. Fascinating subject! For the Smiths & Goslings speak so many times about hairwork, that I’ve begun to “keep” hair myself (a nice lock of my own hair, and my of mother).

Check out the schedule here.

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Long, Winding Road… to Fort Worth

January 30, 2011 at 1:27 pm (jasna) (, , , , , , , )

A couple days ago the post delivered the cutest postcard to my address, from JASNA’s North Texas Region, the host of this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM):

As the backside reads: “Sense will always have an attraction for me.” (ch. x) And so doesn’t the novel, which I have been looking through (my library copy of Chapman’s third edition, pictured above, is over due by a day…)

We’ve grey-ish skies, but (so far) no snowfall (unlike yesterday’s giant flakes) so I for one can’t wait for October — and the beautiful skies of “horizonless” Texas! Thanks for sending the pick-me-up, North Texas volunteers.

**NEWS: Dr. Cheryl Kinney speaks on “Women’s Health in the Novels of Jane Austen” in February: find it online at www.soundmedicine.iu.edu. Dr. Kinney is one of the 2011 AGM coordinators, along with Rosalie Sternberg.

**BTW, here’s the original post, when I first learned this paper had been ACCEPTED!

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No Le Faye at Fort Worth!

November 4, 2010 at 9:22 pm (jasna, people) (, , , )

A big disappointment is the recent news that Deirdre Le Faye, the renowned Austen scholar and author, is unable to travel to Texas for 2011’s AGM.

Especially after reading her monumental A Chronology of Jane Austen and Her Family, 1700-2000, in which so much research Le Faye unearthed is presented, I’ve longed to meet her. There aren’t too many people who someone with my ‘non-teaching’ background can say I want to be as well-respected as her; Ms. Le Faye certainly is one such scholar.

If anyone has news as to ‘why’, do let me know (I hope it’s not health problems).

For blog readers interested in the Austen family — and how Emma Smith fits into it — seek out copies of Le Faye’s book. Emma, Edward, even Mrs Smith and especially Mrs Chute of The Vyne make appearances!

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Portland now; next: Fort Worth!

October 30, 2010 at 9:45 am (books, jasna) (, , , , , , , , , )

This “Halloween” weekend, JASNA members and guests gather in Portland, Oregon for the Annual General Meeting; 2010’s Theme, as you can see, centers on Northanger Abbey.

Must admit, thinking about it, I still like my paper proposal which talked about bringing into society the two “Debs” of 1818: Catherine Morland, heroine of NA, and my own sweet Augusta Smith – who was presented at Court. Her sister Emma wrote extensively about Augusta’s court dress, as well as Mamma’s; and some conversation from the Queen (Charlotte, consort to George III) and the Princess Elisabeth — Augusta, Mrs Smith, Queen Charlotte and the princesses all had the same art teacher: Miss (later Mrs) Meen. They were instructed in the fine art of painting flowers. Catherine Morland’s debut, of course, came in entry into Bath society. Austen captures well the ‘crush’ of such social gatherings, as well as the hesitant demeanor of a young woman’s foray into society and the company of strangers.

But my thoughts don’t stay long with the 2010 AGM; no! 2011 — and my paper. The ideas swirl around, for I like audience interaction and want them to see and hear art and music from the period. One painting I will be sure to talk about: The Sisters, by Sir William Beechey (the Huntington Museum of Art, in West Virginia). Readers of this blog can find my posts about this work (post 1; post 2): for its description fits ALMOST perfectly a description of a Beechey work portraying Mary and Elizabeth GOSLING. But, the younger sister seated at the piano, the elder enjoying the moment of interaction with the viewer, this piece credibly could portray Elinor and Marianne Dashwood!

I’m surprised no publisher has planted The Sisters on an S&S cover yet…

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The Envelope, please…

October 16, 2010 at 11:10 am (news) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Such good news came in yesterday’s post, even if slightly damp and limp thanks to generous all-day rain:

From the Annual General Meeting committee, 2011 – Fort Worth, Texas. My paper proposal was accepted for the AGM covering “Jane Austen: 200 Years of Sense and Sensibility“!!

Must admit to coming up with a great topic, one very apropos for my likes and interests — and for which I must thank Natasha Duquette and Elisabeth Lenckos; without their request for book chapters (mine on drawing, writing, and music in three Jane Austen novels), I would never have thought along the lines I did for this paper proposal.

The title says much about its content, and I include a short teaser description:

 “A House Divided? How the ‘Sister Arts’ Define the Dashwood Sisters”

In Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen consciously chose for eldest sister Elinor Dashwood a desire to practice the art of drawing; for middle sister Marianne, that of making music. What does this simple choice of dividing the sister arts between sisters imply for their characterizations?

With the artistry of Elinor and Marianne manifested in Elinor’s drawings adorning walls and Marianne’s music-making filling the parlor, visitors to Barton Cottage (readers included) have treats for their eyes and ears; likewise audience members attending this talk will be treated to the sights and sounds of the early-nineteenth century.

So, members of the Jane Austen Society of North America, accept this early invitation to “Barton Cottage” (aka some small conference space in the Renaissance Worthington Hotel) to attend my talk! Yeee-ha!

***

An aside: the Kimbell Art Museum is in Fort Worth; it houses the wonderful self-portrait of perhaps my favorite artist: Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun (view the portrait). The best Vigée Le Brun website is at batguano. TONS of information on the artist, her life AND work; just superb images culled from all over the world. Among the books on the site is the Kimbell Exhibition catalogue; I can recommend also the biography by Angelica Goodden (The Sweetness of Life) and her source material, Sian Evans’s translation of Madame Vigée Le Brun’s Souvenirs (“Memoirs”).

My last-spotted portrait is in the wonderful Museo de Arte de Ponce (a fabulous place! Puerto Rico’s gem!), the Comtesse de Chastenay.

My VERY FAVORITE portrait, which started this craze, is the evocative Countess Ecaterina Vassilievna Skavronskaya (thank you, Svetlana, for telling me about the Musée Jacquemart-André , Paris!)

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